The plight of the Afghan interpreters (continued)

The plight of the Afghan interpreters (continued)

The Daily Mail’s campaign “Betrayal of the Brave” to persuade Mr Cameron and his colleagues to grant Afghan interpreters asylum in the UK seems to be paying off. (see our blogs The plight of Afghani  interpreters (continued), Afghani interpreters still left to their fateJohn Oliver on “Translators”: The plight of  Afghani interpreters).

The paper reports (October 17) that “Sam”, whose life was threatened by the Taliban as a result of his work with British forces, has now won the right to live here. This is good news but there are still some 200 interpreters living under the fear of death. And it’s not just the interpreters themselves who are at risk of being murdered. Their families live in constant fear. Sam’s brother, also an interpreter for British forces, was murdered by the Taliban.

The Mail reports that there is a mechanism for interpreters to put forward their claims. Kabul houses a specially formed “intimidation unit” which is currently examining the claims made by over 200 interpreters, whose lives are in danger because of their work.

It was as a result of this procedure that the Ministry of Defence has given the green light for Sam and his family to come to Britain, explaining that ‘Investigations found Sam and his family to be under sufficient threat.’ The application has been sent to the Home Office for security checks and for final confirmation according to the Daily Mail.

Our previous blog reported that a petition had been set up by Afghanistan veteran Major James Driscoll to highlight the interpreters’ fate. To date the petition has attracted over 174,000 signatures. Major Driscoll said: ‘This case shows that they are admitting there is a clear threat to interpreters who have worked for the British Army.”

Not all MPs are convinced. One, Penny Mordaunt, (better known for modelling swimsuits) was said to have told former Army chief Lord Dannatt that there was ‘no major problem’ and that she was not aware of a single interpreter killed by the Taliban. Obviously she was ignorant of the death of Sam’s brother. This is not surprising, according to the Mail, since the first that British officials heard of the death was when they read about it in the Daily Mail.

Currently, more than 100 former interpreters have their cases lodged with lawyers in Britain looking to challenge the UK’s policy that allows only those serving a full year with UK forces after December 2011 to come here.

This apparent prevarication on the part of the government is in sharp contrast to the amount of space being given to the refugee / migrant crisis. Anyone who watched the BBC’s Question Time on October 15 will have been dismayed by Simon Schama’s arm-flailing emotionalism over the 4 million migrants, when he could have made a forceful and passionate intervention on behalf of these Afghan interpreters who have every right to expect that the UK government will do its duty and grant them and their families asylum here.

All credit to the Daily Mail for this campaign.

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To read the full Daily Mail article of October 17th 2015, click here